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CAA ID number discussion

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Dickw17/02/2020 20:16:21
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Posted by Denis Watkins on 17/02/2020 20:08:57:

Flying drones or model aircraft

Always check that anyone who flies your drone or model aircraft has a valid flyer ID.

----------

Or a recognised competency from an association of which they are a current member.

Dick

John Privett17/02/2020 21:01:18
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6035 forum posts
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OK, I now realise what (I believe) is happening.

Being an IT person, I erroneously assumed the CAA would just be doing a bulk upload into their registration system of the data from the BMFA.

They'd then issue the operator ids by email - which would have been quick and - having got the validation errors sorted out at the beginning of the month would have meant we'd all get our emails at about the same time.

But then I found that one or two people got their email last week. (So where is mine?) A couple more got theirs earlier today. And I now know that one of our club members got his today too. He's one of the handful who has no email and has been allocated a special 'club' email address just for this prupose. The other three or four club members using a similar arrangement have got nothing yet, and neither have I.

So, would I be right in thinking the CAA actually just have a team of temps copying and pasting (or, worse, retyping!) the BMFA data into the registration system? And that's why we're all getting our emails at different times, and why it's taking so long? Suddenly the 23 Feb deadline (which a month ago seemed overly generous) makes sense!

And the latest exemption... Is that only effective if we have paid our £9 and applied for the ids? Or does it mean we don't even need the ids now until June.

I guess it will all make sense in the end. Maybe.

Nigel Heather20/02/2020 10:16:18
239 forum posts
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Posted by John Privett on 17/02/2020 21:01:18:

OK, I now realise what (I believe) is happening.

Being an IT person, I erroneously assumed the CAA would just be doing a bulk upload into their registration system of the data from the BMFA.

They'd then issue the operator ids by email - which would have been quick and - having got the validation errors sorted out at the beginning of the month would have meant we'd all get our emails at about the same time.

I also work in IT - here is my speculation based on many years of experience.

The CAA have awarded the contract to a private company (I might be wrong but I think it might be Atos) for an extortionate price.

The CAA calculated how much we would have to pay to cover that extortionate price but have now significantly reduced that amount so the taxpayer will be making up the difference.

Then the CAA made agreements with organisations like the BMFA to do bulk uploads. They went to the contractor to arrange this who rubbed their hands because it is a really simple thing but said "ah ha, change request, it is really complicated and will cost you £1 million and will take 9 months to implement".

So the CAA have had to go with the alternative. They print off the BMFA upload file and get a small army of staff to manually type them into the system, complete with transposition and spelling mistakes.

And that is why it is taking so long and why they are coming out in dribs and drabs.

CAVEAT - I don't know this for fact, I am just speculating based on many years experience in the industry.

Cheers,

Nigel

Dickw20/02/2020 10:22:58
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Posted by Nigel Heather on 20/02/2020 10:16:18:
Posted by John Privett on 17/02/2020 21:01:18:

OK, I now realise what (I believe) is happening.

....................

I also work in IT - here is my speculation based on many years of experience.

..................................

CAVEAT - I don't know this for fact, I am just speculating based on many years experience in the industry.

...............

Hence the reference in the BMFA news release to the "social media rumour mill" - still I suppose it keeps us all amused smiley

Just sticking my OP ID on models so I can go fly this afternoon.

Dick

Andy Symons - BMFA20/02/2020 10:31:41
611 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Nigel Heather on 20/02/2020 10:16:18:
Posted by John Privett on 17/02/2020 21:01:18:

OK, I now realise what (I believe) is happening.

Being an IT person, I erroneously assumed the CAA would just be doing a bulk upload into their registration system of the data from the BMFA.

They'd then issue the operator ids by email - which would have been quick and - having got the validation errors sorted out at the beginning of the month would have meant we'd all get our emails at about the same time.

I also work in IT - here is my speculation based on many years of experience.

The CAA have awarded the contract to a private company (I might be wrong but I think it might be Atos) for an extortionate price.

The CAA calculated how much we would have to pay to cover that extortionate price but have now significantly reduced that amount so the taxpayer will be making up the difference.

Then the CAA made agreements with organisations like the BMFA to do bulk uploads. They went to the contractor to arrange this who rubbed their hands because it is a really simple thing but said "ah ha, change request, it is really complicated and will cost you £1 million and will take 9 months to implement".

So the CAA have had to go with the alternative. They print off the BMFA upload file and get a small army of staff to manually type them into the system, complete with transposition and spelling mistakes.

And that is why it is taking so long and why they are coming out in dribs and drabs.

 

CAVEAT - I don't know this for fact, I am just speculating based on many years experience in the industry.

 

Cheers,

Nigel

 

As far as we are aware it isn't Doris and her pals from the typing pool adding them all manually. The CAA started the process on Monday and all was going well with the first 2000 or so being done quite quickly, however in their checks they found a bug in the process and about 400 emails were not sent. This has been corrected, we also spotted an issue with the actual wording of the email that was being sent which was causing confusion as it suggested memerbs all needed to get a flyer ID when of course we know that they do not if they have an achievement or the RCC, so that has now been corrected and they will be processing the rest from today so all will hopefully have received them in the next day or so.

 

For reference the emails will be coming from caa@notifications.service.gov.uk so it may be worth ensuring it's in your whitelists.

P.S. We are receiving reports that memebrship cards are landing on doormats, finally, apologies for the delays with those.

Edited By Andy Symons - BMFA on 20/02/2020 10:32:04

David Ashby - Moderator20/02/2020 10:45:29
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Thanks Andy thumbs up

Richard Acland20/02/2020 12:52:02
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I did my registration on the CAA website in November and got my operators number straight away. This number has now been fitted to all my models. Has any thing changed that I should know about?

Andy Symons - BMFA20/02/2020 12:59:40
611 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Richard Acland on 20/02/2020 12:52:02:

I did my registration on the CAA website in November and got my operators number straight away. This number has now been fitted to all my models. Has any thing changed that I should know about?

Not really.

John Privett20/02/2020 13:37:13
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6035 forum posts
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Thanks for the update Andy!

I do hope you're right about Doris. It's just that the slow 'drip-feed' of IDs being sent out strongly suggests to many of us that Doris and her mates really are busily typing away, rather than a quick batch upload being run with emails being generated and automatically sent.

Still, with the latest exemption until the end of June it matters rather less now. Even if some are left wondering if we even needed to send our £9 last year if we're now unconditionally exempt until July.

I can however see, via my security camera, an envelope with what appears to be a BMFA logo on the floor in my porch - so maybe my membership card has arrived.

Keep up the good work Andy - we do appreciate it, even if we do moan and grumble a bit, especially when the weather is bad... wink 2

Andy Symons - BMFA20/02/2020 13:44:30
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Wasn't a slow drip feed, they didn't start until Monday, quickly found an issue so stopped while they sorted the issue out, we then informed them that their email text was causing confusion so they have amended that and apparently they are starting processing again today.

Must admit to starting to long for some good weather, may slow the stream of emails down. wink

Scott Edwards 220/02/2020 15:45:21
197 forum posts
96 photos

I would be interested in how the 'bulk upload' from the BMFA was implemented ? I suspect this was by a single interface file, with the format specified by the CAA, requesting the BMFA to output a simple flat file in CSV format, or something more smelly like XML.

There's only about a dozen fields with a single record per row, so nothing evil. BUT ! I doubt if the import process has been stress tested by the CAA. Therefore any anomaly within the data file makes it go splat

All the usual stuff like commas, quotes, spaces, blank lines and non ASCII characters get spat out and have to be manually validated.

My suspicion therefore is that the CAA import process is not robust, and they have had to process the BMFA input file in small batches, hence the drip feed and delay.

Here's the truth - under their glossy veneer, all IT systems are held together with sticky tape and bits of string, and bodged up by fat idiots like me.

Nigel R20/02/2020 15:49:55
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3500 forum posts
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"held together with sticky tape and bits of string"

I think you mean "finely engineered and well honed precision technological solutions" smiley

Trevor Crook20/02/2020 17:15:39
923 forum posts
67 photos

I was thinking the same as you Andy! The awful weather means that instead of flying there's lots of speculation and conjecture going on.

I was one of those who received the early email that suggested I needed a flyer number too. I was a bit confused, glad it's been clarified now.

John Privett20/02/2020 19:29:44
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6035 forum posts
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Posted by Scott Edwards 2 on 20/02/2020 15:45:21:

Here's the truth - under their glossy veneer, all IT systems are held together with sticky tape and bits of string, and bodged up by fat idiots like me.

Hey, don't knock it, Scott - it keeps some of us in a job!

And I was wrong about the envelope I saw via my security camera. There's always tomorrow..; wink 2

Brian Hammond21/02/2020 11:01:24
338 forum posts

All very well but £9 could have bought food for my children !

Doug Campbell21/02/2020 12:43:42
100 forum posts
2 photos

Still no sign of my operator ID. Should it have arrived by today?

Andy Symons - BMFA21/02/2020 12:46:16
611 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Doug Campbell on 21/02/2020 12:43:42:

Still no sign of my operator ID. Should it have arrived by today?

It will be with you before much longer, however there is really no need to worry about it, it will arrive when it arrives and when it does put it on or in your aircraft.

John Privett21/02/2020 13:16:52
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6035 forum posts
239 photos

Mine's arrived in the last hour. thumbs up

I'm slightly surprised that in the mixed alphas and numerics my ID includes a 'Z' which when quickly looked at in 3mm-high lettering could easily be read as a '2', and also a 'Q' which could be mistaken for 'O' or '0'.

Still, with over 78 billion possible numbers, even if somebody reported my number, mis-quoting the Z and Q, it would be an amazing coincidence if that matched somebody else's number.

But I think my number would get a lot of points in a scrabble game... nerd

john stones 121/02/2020 13:51:29
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11142 forum posts
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I know mine went in late, my D.O.B was missing off my details, got my I.D today, think it's bad language in Polish/Russian. surprise

Simon Chaddock21/02/2020 14:01:35
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5613 forum posts
2978 photos

John

I don't think these numbers were ever intended to "read" like a licence plate but only "forensically examined" after a crash in potentially illegal circumstances. wink 2

I would be so much easier if everybody was given a unique ID number at birth........no don't go there.

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